This week’s selected media: The Great Dance, Atlas Shrugged, and Natural Population Decline

July 30, 2023 by Joshua
in Tips

This week I read and watched:

The Great Dance, directed by Craig and Damon Foster: I re-watched this documentary helped open my eyes and mind to the sophistication and complexity of people and cultures we call indigenous. I grew up to see them as stuck in the Stone Age and to fear the possibility of regressing to be like them if we don’t keep progressing. Learning some anthropology from The Dawn of Everything and Tribe starting lifting my ignorance, as did learning to use less power from the grid, which, however small, was experiential.

This movie showed things reading books can’t convey. It was made by the team behind My Octopus Teacher from 20 years earlier, described as “A story of three San (Bushman) hunters at their most extreme limits of endurance, culminating in “the Chasing Hunt” – a ritual that has never before been revealed to the world outside of the Kalahari. Discover the extraordinary spiritual relationship between the hunter and the hunted. Marvel at the incredible wealth of knowledge of the San people about the world around them.”

The Great Dance is a fascinating documentary that examines the unique relationship between Kalahari Desert Bushmen, or the San people, and the harsh landscape of the Kalahari Desert in Southern Africa. Filmed through the eyes of Nqate, a hunter and one of the Kalahari Desert bushmen, The Great Dance follows the life of Nqate as a hunter and tracker. It’s a raw and poignant story of Nqate’s survival, as told in his own words.”

Beyond the content, I can’t believe some of the shots they got.

I highly recommend it.

Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand: I’d known of this book and how much some people love it for decades. I read The Fountainhead in high school and loved it when I read it, but then lowered my opinion of it with every book I read after it until I considered it nearly worthless, or even of negative value. When McKinsey Comes to Town, which I read last week, mentioned McKinsey partners giving to people. McKinsey hires many Ivy League and Rhodes Scholars, whom I can’t dismiss as simple-minded.

Its Wikipedia page quotes someone who studies Rand, “reviewers seemed to vie with each other in a contest to devise the cleverest put-downs.” I can see why. I didn’t find it compelling as a novel nor persuasive as a polemic. If it represents how she sees the world, she seems incredibly sure of herself yet so simple-minded and inaccurate.

I don’t think it helps me understand the world, other people, myself, philosophy, or anything. Something about reading it felt embarrassing.

Madeline Weld on Natural Population Decline, hosted by the Canadian Association for the Club of Rome: Dr. Madeline Weld is the president of the Population Institute Canada, which informs the Canadian public and policymakers about population matters.

Most of the content of this video shows the numbers behind why Earth (and Canada, in particular) is overpopulated and how to lower the population ethically for global mutual benefit. I find podcast guest Jane O’Sullivan‘s presentations a bit more compelling overall, but Weld’s bring valuable new perspective.

Unfortunately, the discussion afterward reveals the inward focus of the community she presented to. I see them focusing on facts, numbers, and theory, not leading others who don’t agree with them or that they don’t know. All they do about them is point fingers. I found podcast guest Alexandra Paul‘s presentations more persuasive.

Still, I recommend Weld’s video.

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